The Patriots got off the schneid and into the win column with another low-scoring, physical, hard-fought win over the Jets. So, I guess you could say it was 15 for 15, as Sunday marked the 15th straight win over the Jets.
The game wasn’t high-scoring, with many beautiful offensive chunk plays. It was an ugly, rock-fight type of game and typical of many Patriots-Jets clashes, especially in recent years. Both teams were physical and wanted to assert their will on the other.
But style points aside, the team needed this win to avoid falling into a 0-3 hole. And they got it. Yes, there are still matters to clean up, especially offensively.
Matt Chatham made a great point for those looking for a loss inside a win. On his Twitter/X account, or whatever we call it next week, Matt wrote:
“If you fall for playing the hypothetical game of ‘if the Jets had Rodgers, the Pats obviously lose yesterday,’ make sure you also give New England back their three missing CBs before choking on that bait, please & thank you.”
The point is that you can what if these things to death. Thanks, Matt, and buy the #GOLDBARK, you’ll thank me later.
So, here are our grades this week for the Patriots-Jets game.
Mac Jones was again facing a very good defensive front; the Jets have arguably a Top 5 DL, and the rest of the defense is very good. Added in was that the conditions weren’t great. It was raining, at times, heavily, and the wind, which at the Meadowlands can be difficult at times, was a factor, too.
Because of this, I was surprised at the number of times that the plays called for Jones to throw deep. Except for one play where the Jets had a total bust in coverage and let Pharho Brown run alone down the seam, they were unsuccessful in throwing deep.
One play could be argued for pass interference, where a Jets’ defender tried to tomahawk the ball out of Demario Douglas’ hands. He missed and hit Douglas in the facemask. It is what it is. The officials in the game were terrible, and missed calls on both teams. We can say that every week.
Jones missed some deep throws but had some drops and made several good ones. Throws to Parker, Bourne and the TD pass to Brown were on the money. He used great touch on the play-action TD pass and completely surprised the Jets.
Jones is playing with confidence and has shown the ability to stand and deliver while taking some big hits. The guy on the other side? Not so much. He finished 15-29 for 201 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per pass, with one TD and, most importantly, zero INTs.
But the 4th quarter was not a good one for the entire offense. And Jones was part of it. He and JuJu Smith-Schuster are struggling to get on the same page.
Running Backs: C+
The Patriots’ running game finally got untracked to a degree against the very good Jets front seven. They put up 157 yards on 40 carries, good for a 3.9-yard average. Against Gang Green, those numbers are a good day’s work.
Ezekiel Elliott led the way with 16 carries for 80 yards, good for a 5.0 average. It was his best day in a Patriots uniform. Stevenson looks somewhat tentative to me, and given the health of the OL, that could be part of it. He managed 59 yards on 19 carries.
They weren’t busting big, huge plays, but the coaches were patient with the running game, allowing them to control the clock. They weren’t great, but were good and much more productive than in the first two weeks.
Stevenson dropped a pass from Jones with a ton of green field in front of him in the first half. That could have been a huge gainer. The grade reflects that.
Wide Receivers: C-
Credit the Jets’ secondary here; they basically shut down the New England wide receivers, holding them to just 85 yards receiving combined. The unit had a rough afternoon. They were operating in tight coverage for most of the game.
But mixed in were some good plays as well. Bourne had a nice play on a 2nd and 7 in the 4th quarter where he caught the pass from Jones, curled around to the middle of the field, and carried the ball and Jet defenders for a gain of 19.
Parker had a couple of nice catches, especially the one along the sideline for 16, where he had to do some good footwork to stay inbounds. Douglas’ only catch was a nice 15-yarder over the middle.
Smith-Schuster missed two big opportunities to close out the game. He also had a big 15-yard penalty that was deserved. No ticky-tack call there. He and Jones have to work on their chemistry. The team hasn’t lost faith in him… yet. The fact that they went to him at crunch time shows they are trying to work through things.
Tight Ends: A-
Raise your hand if you had Pharoah Brown being the tight end who caught the big 58-yard TD pass from Jones. Me neither. The Patriots had been running the ball with three tight ends (13 personnel) early in the game, with Jones under center. In the 2nd quarter, on a first down, Jones executed a play-action pass from that same formation. It caught the Jets completely by surprise.
No one expected Brown to run deep; safety Jordan Whitehead bit on Jones’ fake, and Brown was running alone down the field. A pass right on the money sent him off to the races, and he was able to stretch out and make it into the end zone for the score.
It was the play of the game for the Patriots.
Brown, Mike Gesicki, and Hunter Henry combined for five catches for 106 yards and a score. Brown even played some fullback.
Offensive Line: B
The offensive line did another shuffle earlier this afternoon. Trent Brown returned to left tackle. Vederien Lowe shifted over to RT to replace Calvin Anderson, who had struggled mightily the first two games. This unit played much better, and it gives some hope that they can continue to improve.
Any coach will tell you that the big guys upfront love for the team to run the football. And then run it some more. The Patriots ran the football 40 times, and while six of those went for zero or negative yardage, give the Jets credit for that.
Even more impressive was that Jones wasn’t sacked once. It wasn’t perfect, but it is important to remember who and where they were playing.
Defensive Line: A
The defensive line rebounded quite well after having a rough night against Miami last week. After allowing Miami to run for 145 yards, the Patriots limited the Jets to just 38 yards on 22 carries or a 1.7-yard average. That is dominant stuff there. And after seeing the box score from South Beach, perhaps the Patriots’ run defense just wasn’t so bad after all, as Miami ran for 350 yards against Denver… ouch!
Even after losing Davon Godchaux and Daniel Ekuale on back-to-back snaps, the unit didn’t miss a beat, absolutely dominating the line of scrimmage. The unit began in the NE classic 3-4 base defense, daring Zach Wilson to throw.
Not only did they completely shut down the run, but they brought continuous pressure on Wilson. Christian Barmore logged a sack, while Deatrich Wise had a very good game, bringing pressure all game.
After having issues setting the edge last week, the Patriots started Keion White and Anfernee Jennings, and that solved the problem right away. Jennings immediately set the tone with a TFL and chipped in with a QB hit. White caused a fumble.
Matthew Judon was immense, terrorizing the Jets all game long. He was credited with two sacks. But on the first sack, he was bringing the heat, and Wilson just turtled and went down on his own. The second sack was a safety in the Jets endzone, which finished off the scoring for the day. Judon had two sacks, two TFLs, 3 QB hits, and multiple pressures. That’s how leaders respond to adversity.
Ja’Whaun Bentley had a big game, bringing pressure on Wilson as well as breaking up a pass. Josh Uche also brought pressure.
The secondary depth was tested again. Jon Jones was inactive with his ankle injury, and Marcus Jones joined Jack Jones on IR with a shoulder labrum injury. So, the team moved Myles Bryant from the slot to the boundary for much of the game, and he played well except for one Jets drive, where he was beaten on a couple of throws and picked up a DPI penalty.
However, Christian Gonzalez and Jabrill Peppers were fantastic in this game. He provided excellent coverage when he went against Garrett Wilson. Every week, he’s gotten the tough assignments and has been up to the task. Peppers was all over the field, making tackles, including a TFL.
Kyle Dugger was also all over the field; he and Peppers each had seven tackles, Dugger added a TFL and some blitzes as well.
Special Teams: B-
Rookie kicker Chad Ryland opened the scoring with a nice 48-yard field goal in poor conditions. Then he missed from 48 and 57 due to uncharacteristic poor snaps from LS Joe Cardona. But he then booted one from 51. If those snaps were typical good ones, the Jets final drive would have been moot. But we can what if this to death too.
But other than those two snaps, special teams looked good. Rookie punter Bryce Barringer punted eight times and pinned the Jets inside the 20 on four of them, including one at the NY 6-yard line and others at the 10 and the 13. Peppers had an 18-yard punt return. Brendan Schooler had another solid day.
The coaches had the defensive game plan to put the ball in Wilson’s hands and force him to beat the Patriots. They harassed him all day and pressured him on 63 percent of his dropbacks. Wilson wasn’t up to the task and fell to 0-5 against New England. These bad-weather games are ones that the Patriots under Bill Belichick have usually fared quite well in.
While the Jets didn’t turn the ball over, Wilson was sacked three times, the Jets could only manage 171 yards of total offense and were 2-14 on third down. And this was with three Joneses missing from the secondary.
Offensively, Bill O’Brien stayed patient with the running game and had Mac Jones under center more which opened up play-action passing. While they didn’t have any explosive-type runs, they ground out the yards and were able to hit a 58-yard touchdown pass off of play-action. Overall the Patriots were 8-19 on 3rd downs.
After the opening drive of the second half, where they kicked a field goal, the Patriots offense sputtered and couldn’t get much going.
That’s a wrap for the J-E-T-S. We’re on to Dallas.
Posted Under: Patriots Report Card
Tags: Bill Belichick Breece Hall Christian Gonzalez Dalvin Cook Ezekiel Elliott Garrett Wilson Jabrill Peppers Jordan Whitehead Kendrick Bourne Kyle Dugger Mac Jones Matthew Judon New England Patriots New York Jets Patriots edge rushers Rhamondre Stevenson Zach Wilson